Life in an Industrial Town

Living Conditions during the Industrial Revolution varied from the splendor of the homes of the owners to the squalor of the lives of the workers. In this section you will find descriptions and links that will help you to understand what living in an Industrialising city may have been like.

Homes of the wealthy

Cliffe Castle, Keighley. Built as the home of a wealthy local industrialist.
Cliffe Castle, Keighley, is a good example of how the newly rich chose to live. This is a large home modelled loosely on a castle, woth turrets, towers and imitation crennaltions on the walls of the garden. The home is very large and was surrounded by a massive garden, the estate itself stretching for a number of miles. Cliffe Castle is now open to the public as a museum. Admission is Free.

Cliffe Castle

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Homes of the poor

Crowded ad filthy streets such as these were typical of the homes found in ‘slum’ areas in Cities. These were the homes of the bulk of the working classes during the industrial Revolution.
Poor people lived in small houses in cramped streets. These homes would share toilet facilities, have open sewers (initially at least) and would be susceptible to damp. Conditions did improve during the 19th century as a number of public health acts were introduced covering things such as sewage, sanitation and imposing some restrictions upon the construction of homes.

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Of course not everybody lived in homes like these. The Industrial Revolution led to there being a larger middle class of professionals such as lawyers and doctors. The conditions for the poor improved over the course of the 19th century due to a number of government and local initiatives which led to cities becoming cleaner places. You must also bear in mind that life hadn’t been exactly brilliant for the poor before industrialisation either.

Industrial Revolution Homepage  
Before the Industrial RevolutionFamous FactoriesWomen and Children during the Industrial Revolution
MigrationInventions and InventorsThe Workhouse
Life in an Industrial TownIndustrialists and PhilanthropistsRailways and Canals
Working ConditionsDisease in the Industrial RevolutionChartists and the Peoples Charter
LudditesSwing RiotsRebecca Riots
Protests, Riots and Conspiracies of the Industrial Age